County unhappy with new budget

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 12, 2001

Staff Writer

Pike County commissioners may have passed a budget Thursday night, but they were not necessarily happy with it.

The $8.887 million budget does not currently include allocations to a variety of agencies, but it will allow the county to move into the 2001-2002 fiscal year and pay bills and accounts now due.

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Commissioner Charlie Harris made the motion to allocate funds to the different agencies as money becomes available.

"We are definitely working toward those appropriations," Commissioner Larry Meeks said. "We know this has been a shock to a lot of people."

During the 2000-2001 fiscal year, the county commission allocated more than $100,000 to a number of outside agencies.

Meeks said he is "concerned" the county will not be able to budget money to those agencies, but there is little that can be done at this time.

Commission Chairman Willie Thomas said he is "not happy" with the budget, but it is something with which he can live for the time being.

"It’s something I’m going to have to live with," Thomas said of the budget which is significantly less than the one approved just over a year ago.

This past year, $11.6 million was budgeted during the next fiscal year, a 2.84 percent reduction from the previous year.

"There are things the commission would like to do, but we have to live within our financial means," Thomas said, adding "it will get better."

Thomas said part of the problem is courthouse renovations, including the move to the former Wal-Mart building cost more than the county anticipated.

"There were a lot of unexpected things," Thomas said of the reason there was no revenue to carry over into the 2001-2002 fiscal year.

He said the county has had a "cash flow problem" the last three months of the 2000-2001 fiscal year, which translated into no money remaining in the coffers. The county was forced to borrow money during the last fiscal year to make ends meet.

The county took the budget under consideration at its meeting Tuesday night, but chose to have a few more days to work out problems. Commissioners had to recess that meeting since the budget must be approved during the first meeting of October, if not sooner.